Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pumpkin Pretzels

This is one of the simplest recipes ever... not even a real recipe. But I liked them so much that I knew I needed to get it in my "recipe book". (AKA - this blog) There is just something perfect about sweet chocolate and salty pretzels together. I love how quick and easy these are and perfect for last minute treats or spur of the moment cravings. ;)

Pumpkin Pretzels

Orange Candy Melts
Green mini M&M's

Melt your candy melts in the microwave at 30 second intervals until smooth. Drop pretzels in candy melts and use a fork to coat both sides. Remove pretzels after they have been coated to wax paper. Quickly place a green M&M for the stem. The candy melts dry fast so I would drop about 5 pretzels in my bowl of melted "chocolate" and remove them all, and then place the M&M's. That seemed to work perfectly.
You could also use white chocolate tinted with orange food coloring.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cheesy Vegetable Chowder

I've been in the mood for warm and comforting soups. It's that time of year when the chill in the air just screams for soup. Luckily, I have a vast resource of recipes through Pinterest. It's nice to never run out of ideas. This soup was especially tasty. My family slurped it up. There wasn't even any left for my hubby to take to work the next day. I will definitely double the recipe next time.

Cheesy Vegetable Chowder

2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped carrot
1 celery stick, finely chopped (feel free to add more celery if you like celery; I don't, so I don't add much)
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
4 cups chicken broth (I usually use a mixture of low-sodium chicken broth and broth made with chicken soup base because it gives it such nice flavor)
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 Tablespoon flour
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup milk
2 cups chopped broccoli
2 heaping cups shredded cheddar cheese

Melt the butter in a large soup pot.  Add onions, carrots, and celery and saute over medium heat until tender.  Add garlic and cook 1 or 2 additional minutes.  Add chicken broth and potatoes, bring to a boil, and cook until potatoes are tender.  Mix flour with water, add, and simmer until soup is slightly thickened.  Add milk and broccoli and cook until broccoli is just tender and soup is heated through.  Stir in cheese, allow to melt, and serve.

*Found on Pinterest from Lulu the Baker

Friday, October 12, 2012

Berry Kiwi Summer Salsa with Cinnamon Sugar Chips

I made this delightful little salsa 10 or more times this summer. It quickly became my family's favorite. My husband loved it so much, he didn't want to share with any of us! And I made it so often that soon, I figured out my 10 year old could make the Cinnamon Chips while I made the salsa. It went a lot faster that way!! Definitely get a kitchen helper to move things along in the kitchen. I love my little helpers. 
This was my favorite new recipe of the summer and I'm sure we'll be making it well into winter too. It's so delicious, we just can't stop eating it.

Berry Kiwi Summer Salsa
2 kiwis chopped
2-3 firm, tart apples chopped
2 cups strawberries chopped
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries (I always use frozen)
1 TB granulated sugar
2 TB brown sugar
2 TB your favorite jam (homemade works best)
1 TB cream of coconut (optional)
Chop the kiwis, apples, and strawberries into small chunks about like this:
Combine with raspberries in a large mixing bowl.  Add sugars and jam.  I also like to add a little cream of coconut for some island flare.  You can usually find it in the ethnic foods section or the alcohol mixers section.  Lemon or orange zest is a good addition as well.

Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Chips
8-10 flour tortillas
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup granulated sugar mixed with 1-2 TB of cinnamon (depending on how “cinnamon-y” you like it)
Lay tortillas on large cookie sheets.  You may want to put tinfoil down first for easier clean-up.  Brush both sides of the tortillas with melted butter.  Sprinkle both sides with cinnamon and sugar mixture.
Using a pizza cutter, cut tortillas into strips or triangles.  Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes.  Do not over bake.  Serve with berry kiwi summer salsa.

*Found on Pinterest from How Does She

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sausage, Bean, and Pasta Soup

The weather has turned chilly and I have been in the mood for yummy soups. I have come across some yummy recipes and have been busy trying them out. We really liked this sausage one. It was filling and comforting and perfect for the crisp, cool days we have been having. We always have to have breadsticks or some type of roll or bread to dip in our soup. It's a must. Breadsticks go perfectly with this yummy soup.

Found on Pinterest from The Italian Dish

  • 1 cup dried cannellini or cellini beans or 1 15-ounce can of any beans you like, drained
  • 1 pound ground sausage, turkey or pork
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 medium carrot, diced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes 
  • 6 to 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper 
  • 1 cup ditalini pasta, or any small pasta
  • grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese 
If using dried beans, place them in a pot, cover with cold water and let soak for several hours or overnight. Drain.
In a large pot, brown the sausage.  Remove from pot.  If there is a lot of fat left in the pot, pour this out but do not wipe out pot.  Add onion, carrot and olive oil and saute for 2-3 minutes until soft.  Add garlic and saute about a minute more.  Add the tomatoes, 6 cups of the chicken broth, thyme, bay leaf, some salt and pepper, the drained beans and the sausage and cover the pot. Cook for an hour over low heat, at a gentle simmer.
If using dried beans, check for doneness at this point.  (If using canned beans, add the pasta now.)  If the beans are not soft enough, cover the pot again and cook for another 30 minutes or until the beans are soft. Add the pasta and cook, uncovered, until the pasta is tender.  Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper to taste.  If the soup is too thick for your liking, you can add more chicken broth.
Serve with grated cheese on top and an extra drizzle of olive oil.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Rolo Brownie Trifles

 And now for a decadent, delicious, can't get enough of dessert recipe. I feel like I haven't posted many sweets lately... and it's not that I haven't been making or eating them, that's for sure. I just keep making my old standbys and, more often than not, buying the pre packaged store made goodies. I've been really lazy lately with my huge belly and the little peanut inside taking up all my energy and motivation. 
However, I did host a Bunco night and decided to make these spectacular little trifles for dessert. I've had them pinned for awhile and knew it was time to make them. 
They were a little time consuming, but totally worth every minute!!! I had extra caramel sauce that I put in the fridge and have been using as an ice cream topping. It's so incredible. The caramel sauce is what really makes these.

Rolo Brownie Trifles
with Caramel Sauce and Chocolate Whipped Cream
Makes 1 large trifle, or 6 minis
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 rolls of Rolos Candies (about 18 candies), quartered, plus 2 1/2 more rolls, chopped (leaving one whole Rolo per trifle for garnish.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour and 8 x 8 inch glass baking dish; set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the cocoa powder, flour, salt, and baking powder; set aside.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Once melted, remove from heat and whisk in the sugar until combined.
Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla.
Whisk in the dry ingredients until combined and pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Evenly distribute the Rolos over the top of the batter.
Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few crumbs clinging to it. Allow brownies to cool completely before serving or cutting into bite sized pieces.
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon corn syrup (or agave syrup)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, crushed (optional, but I do recommend at least 1/2 teaspoon for more depth)
Place the sugar, water, and corn syrup in a small saucepan, stirring to combine. Without stirring, bring to a boil over high heat, swirling the ingredients in the pan occasionally. Continue boiling until the mixture reaches an amber color, about 10 minutes (although this varies, depending on your stove). Remove from heat and very carefully (the mixture will quickly expand and sputter) add the cream in a slow steady stream, being sure to stir constantly. Once combined, add the salt and butter and continue stirring until both are completely melted and combined. Cool to room temperature before using.
2 cups heavy cream
3 to 4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, whip the heavy cream and cocoa powder on medium high speed until it starts to thicken. Reduce speed to low and sprinkle the sugar into the cream. Turn mixer to high and continue whipping until firm peaks form. Stir in vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Assemble trifles: Layer the bottom of your trifle dish with whipped cream, cover with a layer of bite sized brownie pieces and some chopped Rolos, drizzle with caramel, and repeat until the bowl is filled and you’ve used all of your ingredients. Garnish with chopped Rolos, more caramel, and whole Rolos on top.

 I doubled the recipe so I had 12 mini trifles. They got rave reviews and I was really sad to see them all eaten up. I would have loved to have leftovers of these to eat the next day!! Even though it's 11:00 at night, I'm craving one of these bad boys right now. It's the best dessert I have made in a really long time!

Found on Pinterest, originally made by Bakingdom. I just love Pinterest!